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Play it safe on Lake Erie

Register • Apr 28, 2014 at 7:00 AM

The recovery of two bodies and search that continues for two missing fishermen on Lake Erie should serve as yet another  reminder of the grave dangers the lake presents.

The two men – Bryan Huff, 32, and Andrew Rose, 33, -- were last seen April 16 when they took Amy Santus, 33, and Paige Widmer – out for a fishing trip from the Locust Point boat ramp in Ottawa County.

Apparently something went terribly wrong and the partially submerged boat and the bodies of Santus and Widmer, still wearing their life jackets, were recovered from the lake the following day.

With the boating season just beginning, it is important to keep safety in mind at all times. That means not only having law-required life jackets on board your boat, regardless if it’s a kayak, sailboat or yacht, but actually using them – especially in poor weather.

It also means having proper ship-to-shore radios, emergency flares and other safety and first aid equipment at the ready in case of an emergency.

Most boat owners are responsible people because of the apparent dangers of operating a vessel on Lake Erie, which can transform from a calm body of water to raging 6-foot or bigger swells with a mere shift of the wind.

Unfortunately, even the most seasoned boaters and fishermen rarely use life jackets. They are big, bulky, uncomfortable and just not cool to wear, literally and figuratively, when the weather is hot.

In this case, even life jackets couldn’t save Santus and Widmer from the cold waters of Lake Erie.  But that shouldn’t deter any boaters from using them.

Play it safe on Lake Erie -- and stay alive.

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